For CPG companies selling at retail, retail audits are an important part of maintaining a strong shelf presence. This checklist covers 37 different metrics that you're reps should be measuring every time they conduct an audit to ensure you have the most accurate and valuable data available.
Demographic info to measure
- Name of outlet and other location information like address, zipcode, etc.
- Type of neighborhood: urban, suburban, or rural?
- Sales territory: which territory is the client under?
- Type of outlet: convenience, gas, pharmacy, grocery, etc.
- Economic group: upper, middle, working class?
- General condition of store during visit: in store traffic, number of onsite employees, etc.
What to look forYou should know as much about the retail outlet as possible so you can cross-reference and find correlations when doing your market analysis. These key pieces of demographic data should be associated with every Audit Report that is completed in the field. Ideally, this data exists within your CRM and can be automatically connected to the reports filled in by your rep.
Product info to measure
- Photos of on shelf: before and after merchandising activities
- Backstock level: what is the stock level in storage?
- Adjacent products: who are your neighbors?
- Shelf tag presence: any shelf tags missing?
- Product damage: record any damage to products
- Stock level on shelf: highlight out-of-stock situations
- Planogram compliance: slotting, shelf, and facings?
- Retail price: how much is the product retailing for?
- Location of product: which locations can the product be found?
- Consumer feedback: consumer feedback on products
What to look for
Product condition includes everything from stock levels to position on the shelf to planogram compliance and locations in the store. This data can help you identify particular outlets or chains where store personnel need coaching regarding how your product should be displayed, and can aid in identifying correlations between product velocity and positioning.
Trade Promotion Compliance
Compliance info to measure
- Photos: document compliance issues with photos
- Promoted price: what is the promoted price?
- Product locations: are products in agreed locations in the store?
- Fully stocked displays: are displays fully stocked?
- Product promotions: is the product being promoted?
- Promotional materials: are agreed upon promotional materials displayed? (i.e. posters, shelf talkers, stickers)
- Promotion references: is the promotion referenced in the circular?
- Feedback on promo: any consumer feedback on promotions
What to look for
CPG companies spend a huge portion of their marketing budget on trade promotion, and the effectiveness of those promotions is directly impacted by how well they are executed in the store. If you are giving retailers a substantial trade allowance, you deserve to have the agreed actions taken and supported in the store. Your merchandising reps should confirm compliance in stores, and rectify any deficiencies they find. A good Merchandising Software solution will allow you to create audit forms that match the in store promotion agreements and allow you to make those audits available to reps when they visit outlets with an active promotion.
Competitive info to use
- Photos: document competitive activity with photos
- SKUs on sale: which SKUs of the competitor are sold in the outlet?
- Promotions: are the products on promotion? Type of promotion?
- New SKUs: any new SKUs from competitor? Details?
- List of brands: which competitors are carried in the outlet?
- Pricing: what is the price?
- Stock level: what is the stock level of your competitor’s product compared to yours?
- Feedback on competitor: any consumer feedback on your competitors’ items?
What to look for
Having merchandising reps in the field is a great way to see first hand how well your competition is executing. The data that you collect about competitors should combine structured data that you can analyze and report on, as well as unstructured data that allows reps to report things that you are not yet aware of.
Rep Process and Efficiency
Team efficiency info to measure
- Time of arrival: what time did the rep arrive at the store?
- Interaction with customers: record any interactions with customers
- Time of departure: what time did the rep leave the store?
- Interaction with store manager: record any interactions with the store manager
- Completion of on site forms -- what forms and activities did the rep complete in the store? (Audits, surveys, etc.)
What to look forRunning a field team of merchandisers is an expensive proposition, and managing remote workers is by its very nature a difficult task. Being able to coach reps remotely, hold them accountable, and make them as efficient as possible is critical to ensuring the success of retail field operations. The Retail Audit itself can be instrumental in all of these areas if it is constructed and executed well.
Melissa is a recent graduate of Northeastern University and a content marketing specialist at Repsly, Inc. She is committed to applying her skills in order to bring value to Repsly readers and customers. Outside of work, Melissa enjoys practicing yoga, making music, and anything dog-related.